New fire chief moves up through the ranks

It’s just a short move down the hallway for Vernon’s new fire chief.

Keith Green has gone from training officer to take up duties as administrator of the department.

“My priority is to continue building relations with our partners regionally and with the career and volunteer firefighters,” he said.

Originally from Richmond, Green has been with the Vernon department as a volunteer and career firefighter for 12 years. He has been training officer since 2009.

The position of chief became vacant when Jeff Carlisle moved to Kelowna earlier this year. Green admits that he originally never gave much thought to the job but ultimately decided to apply.

“I believe our department was ready for an internal candidate to put their name forward,” he said.

“I was inspired by Jeff and (interim chief) Gary McCall and how they conducted themselves. I decided I can do this because there’s a lot of great people who work here.”

Among his first actions as chief will be becoming familiar with major files like upgrades to the dispatch centre and a new fire hall for Predator Ridge.

Green was part of the union as a firefighter, but he isn’t concerned about the challenges that may arise from being management now.

“We’re all on the same team,” he said of administration and the career and volunteer firefighters.

“You don’t have to be adversaries. There will be tough decisions to make but it’s about respecting individuals.”

There were initially 57 applications for the fire chief’s job.

That was pared down to 10 candidates and then finally short-listed to six prospective candidates.

Leon Gous, Vernon’s chief administrative officer, is confident Green will continue to be an asset to the city.

“He understands the needs of Vernon Fire and Rescue Services and will continue to build on the achievements of the department,” said Gous in a release.

“I know Keith’s transition into the post will be advanced by his existing rapport with colleagues and his appreciation of the department initiatives already in place.”